A back-to-front success for Carlingford Lough at the Irish Gold Cup saw the JP McManus-owned 10-year-old halve in price for this year’s Grand National.
Starting out at an overlooked 20/1 despite being the defending champion of the race, Carlingford Lough was almost pulled up by jockey Mark Walsh three fences from home.
But the five-time winner over fences found a second wind after passing a few rivals and was helped up ahead as Willie Mullins’ Valseur Lido came in to trouble.
Yet to be touched under Ruby Walsh, last year’s JLT Novices’ Chase third had eased up alongside pre-race favourite Road To Riches approaching the last fence.
When it looked like the Gigginstown-owned understudy would ease away from Noel Meade’s leader, the seven-year-old unseated Walsh through the side door.
By now, Carlingford Lough loomed large and the one-time ride of AP McCoy powered away from Bryan Cooper and Road To Riches to win by 12 lengths.
After the race Frank Berry, McManus’ racing manager, said: “He’s in the Gold Cup and we’ll think about it but he’s in the Grand National and that might the race for him.”
Ladbrokes offer 25/1 about Lough for the Gold Cup and also eased the blundering Valseur Lido, who has now failed to finish his last two starts chasing, to 14/1 from 10s. Road To Riches can be backed at 14s in that race, but failed to impress Meade.
“Watching the race I was never happy and Bryan [Cooper – jockey] came back and said the horse was never really carrying him,” the trainer, who has just five winners in 41 entries in Ireland, said.
Willie Mullins’ Vautour is the bookmaker’s 7/2 favourite for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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